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A doubling for Ten Thousand

Ten Thousand Villages will soon nearly double its showroom space at Stuyvesant Plaza to accommodate and display more handcrafted goods from around the world.

The fair trade retailer currently occupies 1,390 square feet and plans to expand into 1,200 adjacent square feet of space formerly occupied by natural food shop It's Only Natural. The extra space will feature a larger storefront and allow the store to offer more culturally diverse gifts, jewelry, art, textile and home decor.

"We've experienced tremendous success in Stuyvesant Plaza and we're excited to increase our showroom space," said store spokeswoman Michele Loeper in a news release issued Tuesday. "The expansion will provide our customers with an even better selection of high quality, handcrafted products."

Ten Thousand Villages first opened at the outdoor shopping center in 2001, and underwent an extensive renovation last summer. The charitable nonprofit has 390 stores across the nation and three outlets in New York, located in Albany, Ithaca and Williamsville. As one of the world's largest fair trade organizations, its mission is to improve the lives of disadvantaged artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East by marketing their handmade products in the West.

"Ten Thousand Villages has been a popular destination in Stuyvesant Plaza for more than a decade and we're thrilled to announce the expansion," said Janet Kaplan, Stuyvesant Plaza's vice president of real estate. "A larger showroom will allow Ten Thousand Villages to provide more of the handmade goods plaza patrons know and love."

Reach Gazette reporter Bethany Bump at 395-3107 or bbump@dailygazette

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